EBENEZER H. ROBBINS (A biographical sketch and an obituary with an introduction by his great-great granddaughter, Julie Callahan) Re: The Nicholas Robbins Family No. 7.135.2

 

While transcribing one of several diaries left by Ebenezer Robbins, I quickly gained an appreciation for the amount of work Ebenezer did to run his farm. He planted and harvested crops, cut and hauled raw timber, and cared for a variety of farm animals. He repaired wagon wheels and fences, built barns and house additions, and cleaned and maintained the musical instruments and sewing machines he sold. Ebenezer frequently hosted gatherings of neighbors in his home for what he called "a good sing". He usually attended two church services on Sundays, at times enduring deep snow and bitter upstate New York winter temperatures. He often brought his melodeon to church services and seems to have relished opportunities where he "took charge of the choir". Ebenezer's eldest child, Mary, regularly played the organ in church and his eldest son, Henry, occasionally played his violin there as well. Through my transcription work I have developed a tremendous appreciation for my second great grandfather and a vastly richer perception of the history of the land on which I grew up.

 

Ebenezer H. Robbins was born on November 3, 1819 at Unadilla, New York, the eldest son and second child of Ephraim and Elizabeth (Howland) Robbins. Following the death of his father in May, 1843, Ebenezer became responsible for the care of his mother and two younger sisters, Elizabeth (Jr) and Eleanor, then still minors. In October, 1850, Ebenezer married Louisa Storms, daughter of Henry J. Storms and Mary Voorhees. Louisa was born in New York State on April 30, 1835. Ebenezer and Louisa had five children: Mary E. Robbins, born May 30, 1858; Henry Ephraim Robbins, born March 17, 1860; Eugene A. Robbins, born March 19, 1862; Rose Louisa Robbins, born June 11, 1871; and Eva Lena Robbins, born July 20, 1875. As noted in the obituary which follows, Ebenezer was a teacher for several years in Root, Montgomery County, New York, prior to establishing himself as a farmer and musician in Wells Bridge, Otsego County, New York. The Otego, New York Business Directory for 1872-1873 notes E. H. Robbins of Wells Bridge as Agent for Elias Howe Company sewing machines and musical instruments and a farmer with 100 acres under cultivation. Ebenezer died on February 21, 1885.  At the time of the 1900 Census, Louisa was noted as a resident of Otego, living with her daughters, Mary and Rose. She passed away on April 13, 1909.

 

"Died, in the town of Otego, Otsego County, New York, February 21, 1885, Mr. E. H. Robbins, aged 65 years. Mr. Robbins was born in Unadilla, New York, on November 3, 1819. He early manifested a taste for education and music and taught school and singing school in the town of Root, Montgomery County, five consecutive years in one place; also day school and singing school in Otsego County for a long term of years. He was chorister in the M. E. Church of Wells Bridge

EBENEZER H. ROBBINS

The

Nicholas Robbins Family

at the time of his death and led the singing two weeks before he died, being also engaged in teaching the children of the Sabbath school to sing. Very few, if any, had had a better faculty to teach children to sing than he."

 

"Mr. Robbins was married to Miss Louisa Storms by Rev. W. Burnside on October 2, 1850. They had five children, two sons and three daughters. The youngest, Eva, precedes him seven months to the better land. His wife and four children survive him, following in his footsteps in regard to temperance, music and Christianity. Deceased was an excellent man in the neighborhood, kind to all and ready to help in time of need; especially on funeral occasions, would leave business at all times when called upon, collect singers, take his eldest daughter to preside at organ, and thus make the house of mourning solemn and interesting."

 

"His funeral was held at the M. E. Church of Wells Bridge on February 23 and was attended by a very large concourse of people. Services were conducted by Rev. W. Burnside, the same who married him more than thirty-five years before, assisted by four other clergymen. He was sick but one week of that fatal disease, pneumonia. When inquired of in his conscious moments by the writer, in regard to the future, he said it was all right, signifying a desire to have the family called in for prayers, which was done amid sobs and tears of a stricken household. May the bereaved family and friends meet him in a better home, where disease, sorrow and tears are never known. By Rev. W. Burnside"

 

Submitted by Julie Callahan, January, 2010. (Editor's Note: Ms. Callahan has very generously supplied the editor with draft copies of transcriptions of two of her great-great grandfather's diaries. They are gems. We look forward to publishing excerpts on this website at a future date. LGR) Ms. Callahan may be contacted by email at jucallahan@yahoo.com.